Study Abroad in Canterbury - Week 9
November 18, 2019 | 12:00 PM
Ashley Wittekiend '20, Psychology Major
These past two months have been like a dream. Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve wanted to go to England. Something about this place has always fascinated me. Once I heard about this study abroad opportunity, I immediately knew it was something I wanted to do. I’ve had the opportunity to visit some pretty amazing places such as London, Ireland, and Amsterdam. Unfortunately, we’re coming up on our last thirty days here and I know that it’s going to go by fast.
This week in our Sites & Sights class, we learned about William Shakespeare’s famous Globe Theatre as well as the ship, “Golden Hinde.” The original Globe Theatre where Shakespeare’s plays were once performed, was built in 1599 but burned down after a cannon was fired and struck the wooden beams of the Globe during a performance in 1613. Seeing it in person transported me back to the Elizabethan era when going to a Shakespearean play was the thing to do on a Saturday night. The Globe Theatre that stands today is a replica that was built in 1997 by actor and director Sam Wanamaker. A fun fact that our tour guide pointed out is that Wanamaker’s daughter Zoë played Madam Hooch in Harry Potter. She also told us that Maggie Smith, who played Professor McGonagall, donated to the replica. It was pretty cool to see those Harry Potter connections, especially as someone who grew up with it, and, since my dad is probably the biggest Harry Potter fan, I was excited to share these newfound facts with him. As a theater nerd, I was probably the most excited of my classmates to visit a place with such rich history in the theater world.
On the other hand, the historic “Golden Hinde” belonged to explorer Sir Francis Drake. Drake used his ship to circumnavigate the globe from 1577 to 1580, being only the second ship to do so. He was sponsored by Queen Elizabeth I to lead an expedition to explore the land that lay beyond South America. While aboard the “Golden Hinde,” Drake would capture other ships and steal their treasure. He, and what was left of his crew, returned to England in 1580 with spices and other treasures such as gold and jewelry. One year later, he was knighted by the queen on board his ship. The ship that we visited is a replica of the original “Golden Hinde,” and has actually sailed around the world, too. Along with being a theater nerd, I am also kind of a history nerd, so being on board this ship was really intriguing to me. I pictured myself exploring with Drake aboard the Golden Hinde as a crew member dealing with the harsh reality of life at sea.
Lately, I’ve been dealing with feelings of missing home, but once I get myself out of my room and outside into the beautiful city of London it all goes away. I know how lucky I am to have this opportunity and I’m thankful for the amazing support system I have here (whether it be my #macfam or the British and American friends I have made here). It will be hard to say goodbye to the friends I’ve made, but one good thing about technology is that we can all keep in touch!